Articulating a strong theoretical sales process that works is difficult enough but the real test is in the field. Sales is a contact sport as someone once said. Below I’ve noted 4 real problems you will encounter as a sales professional and some potential moves that might help.
The Soft Sponsor
You often rely on your prospect influencing his colleagues inside his company. The prospect you are engaging with is your sponsor. Unfortunately despite your best efforts you will encounter the soft sponsor. He is not a bad person but just weak at influencing others. That weak sponser will kill your deal. The key is to identify that weakness as early as possible and long before a formal proposal is delivered. The soft sponsor needs coaching. You need to rehearse the arguments he will take to his boss. You need to deliver impeccable ROI documents he can use. You need to make sure he is capable of communicating the improved performance from the investment in your product. You can’t leave anything to chance. And of course you will always try to get his boss on calls and involved.
The No Budget
It’s such an interesting concept – the “I don’t have a budget for that”. So do you think that everything a company spent in 2012 was originally in the budget? I don’t think so. Capital chases the best return whether it’s in the budget or not. If a CFO, manager, supervisor is shown an attractive investment opportunity, money will be found. Budgets are not mandatory spending buckets. They are merely a set of policy intentions signed off at the time of the budget. A company’s profit objective is often achieved by deviating from plan not following it!
The Mysterious Decision Process
On a recent deal a sales professional was told – I’m afraid we are going with the market leader. It was decided by the “powers that be”. That phrase was actually in an email response. Don’t let mystery form around the prospect’s decision making process. Establish clarity of how decisions are made. Reluctance to explain decision making often means two things – there is no formal process or the prospect is a tire kicker. Better to know as early as possible and act accordingly.
It’s Not A Priority
A target prospect has been identified. She has visited the web site several times but nothing more. The point at which a prospect puts a priority on a problem is often way past the rational efficiency argument. As a sales professional you need to move far away from an order taker mindset and into a rational, process improvement, business engineer. You need to communicate the bad consequences of doing nothing. Creating priorities in your prospect’s head is all about establishing the reality of today’s environment. The reality of the true cost of doing nothing.
Our Sales Playbook addresses these types of issues by implementing a process that understands how prospects buy. Selling is changing fast. You need sales professionals trained to think like a businessman with the mindset of understanding the real problems worth solving. The examples above are a small subset of the sessions worth practicing, worth role playing. Sales process details here.